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The Oxford English Dictionary
's recent quarterly update added, as usual, as assortment of terms from all over the map. These included ethnomathematics, honky-tonker, honor code, exfoliator, bookaholic, over-under, wackadoo,
and the even wackier wackadoodle
. But the entry that really caught my eye was bestie
, an affectionate term for a best friend.
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I've written columns culled from the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE) before, but it wasn't easy. I always had to thumb through the pages like a caveman. No more! Now, finally, DARE is available digitally, allowing this deep well of regional English to be searched easily. This is a bonanza for writers and word nerds everywhere, so get a subscription or take your library hostage until it does so.
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Sometimes, a photo "ekes out
of the printer." Other times, electronics help "to eke out
extra mileage" in cars. And in a more familiar usage, a movie "shows how a once-budding folk singer tries to eke out
a living." It's no wonder, then, that most people think "eke out" means to achieve something through effort, to barely get by.
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Online dating sites love to use Valentine's Day as an opportunity to talk about how people size up their potential romantic interests. And it turns out that an attention to grammar, particularly usage of the word "whom," just might help out men who would like to attract members of the opposite sex.